Wisconsin's children have been through a great deal of disruption and distraction during and since so many schools were closed to in-person classes as a reaction to COVID. While proficiency suffered and many students experienced learning loss, parents across the Badger State—often for the first time—began to question what their children were being taught and how they were being taught.
Wisconsin spends some $14 billion on K-12 education. As we near the August 9th primary election and the beginning of a new school year, parents and students deserve to know how each candidate for state office would improve education. It is time to have a statewide conversation about the future of K-12 education. I am happy to share my vision for offering the 21st Century education our children deserve and providing more transparency for parents.
Post the Curriculum for Each Class
Parents want more information about the education their children are receiving. Professors at several colleges and universities post their curricula online. K-12 teachers should be required to do the same so parents have more information
Establish Universal School Choice
Currently, only families meeting income restrictions have the opportunity to participate in choosing the school of their choice. All Wisconsin parents should be free to choose the educational option that best helps their children reach their full academic potential. From homeschooling to public or private schools, parents and students should have access to all possibilities and receive the same amount of public funding annually for their education.
Provide Universal Class Choice
The availability of class offerings varies across the state. Some schools offer multiple language, science, math, history, or literature courses; others have far fewer class options. Imagine harnessing the Internet to allow students anywhere in the state to take a K-12 class from anywhere else in the state. Universal class choice would empower parents and students to take advantage of the best Wisconsin's K-12 educational system offers.
There is so much opportunity to unleash educational innovation and improve student outcomes. Yet, too many teachers, principals, and school board members feel stifled by the suffocating bureaucracy of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Now is the time to amend the Wisconsin State Constitution, dismantle DPI, and grant schools greater flexibility from burdensome regulations to achieve educational results for students.
Reintegrate Vocational Education into High Schools
Fewer than one in three Wisconsinites 25 years of age and older have earned a bachelor's degree. While 70% of Wisconsin residents of the same age have not earned a bachelor's degree, our educational system too often seemingly promotes four-year degree college programs as the only appropriate path after high school. We should reintegrate vocational education into high schools and encourage our youth to consider apprenticeships and technical college programs, which lead to our economy's high-demand, family-supporting careers.
Offer Each High School Student a Youth Apprenticeship
Our K-12 educational system should not focus solely on academic achievement. The system's goals also should be preparing students for the workforce. Our state should ensure that every student has a youth apprenticeship while in high school and the opportunity to explore career opportunities. Youth apprenticeships are an ideal way to introduce students to area businesses and create a talent pipeline for those employers.
Wisconsin's parents deserve a K-12 educational system that partners with and empowers them. Our children deserve a modern education to help them reach their God-given potential. Let's overhaul our educational systems and policies to give Wisconsin children every advantage to fuel their futures.
Will Martin is a candidate seeking the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor. In addition to being a small business owner for 20 years and advising government and private-sector agencies in Great Britain, The Netherlands, and Israel, Martin has served in multiple senior leadership roles for Governors Thompson and Walker.
Learn more at: will4ltgovernor.com
*Paid for by: Will Martin for Lt. Governor*